Elk breeders association member should be on CWD task forc

To the Editor:

In my opinion, there should be at least one member of the Colorado Elk Breeders Association, on the Governors Task force on chronic wasting disease Fact there is not!

In fact, I was told at the task force meeting, held in Fort Collins on June 5, 2002, that our (CEBA) representation, was not necessary, because there were already, two members of the USDA on the task force, and that the Governor thought that should be enough. In my opinion, this is an outrage. No one likes to be called unnecessary, even if they are, and in this case, I believe that we (CEBA) are very necessary, especially when three of the governor's appointees failed to make the meeting. Although I realize that these people have other agendas that require their attention, and may feel this appointment is an infringement on their time, it is, however, a top priority for those in the elk ranching business.

It is also my opinion that the Colorado Elk Breeders, with their very presence at many of the Division of Wildlife meetings, over the past few months have served to help keep the information that has been presented honest. For example, at the first meeting held at the information center west of Hayden, the question was asked if research animals were ever moved from the DOW Research facility at Fort Collins, to the facility at Little Hills south of Craig. The answer was an immediate "NO."

The next night at the meeting in Meeker, the same question was asked again, and again the answer was "NO," but this time a second question was asked. Were research animals ever moved from Fort Collins to the DOW research facility near Kremmling? The answer was "YES." To continue were any of those animals ever moved from Kremmling on to the facility at Little Hills? And the answer was a hesitant "UR UM YES." Finally a couple of weeks later, after day after day of negative press about elk ranching, the DOW held another meeting to inform the public about the discovery of CWD on the Western Slope in Craig, and for the third time the same question was asked, "Were animals from the DOW research facility at Fort Collins ever moved to the DOW research facility at Little Hills?" This time DVM Mike Miller for the CDOW said, "Yes, after going over old research papers, it was found that research animals were actively sent back and forth between these two facilities, as well as other facilities throughout the state and Wyoming.

In fact in May of 1980 a deer from the Lime Hills facility died of chronic wasting disease, but it is unsure where, either at the facility in Fort Collins or at Little Hills." Even after this statement was made the DOW continues to say that the first report of CWD on the Western Slope was the discovery of the disease near the Motherwell Ranch last fall, and never mentioning that the ranch is well within the migration range of the Little Hills facility. Of course this is just my opinion!

The A.P. (Anyone with a Pencil)

Tom Cox,

Routt County

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